Precious Engravings and Literary Theory in Highlights from Paris Livres et Manuscrits

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Some of the most important illustrated texts of modern times will feature in the upcoming Livres et Manuscrits which takes place on 18 June in Paris. From the bold colours of Matisse's Jazz to the visceral violence of Goya's Los Desastres de la Guerra, the catalogue includes meticulous documentation, evocative illustration and provocative philosophy from revered thinkers and artists alike.
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Precious Engravings and Literary Theory in Highlights from Paris Livres et Manuscrits

  • Georges Marie Leclerc, comte de Buffon
    Histoire naturelle des oiseaux . Paris, Imprimerie Royale, 1770-1786.
    Estimate €25,000–35,000
    This original edition, issued on large paper and original coloured plates, is one of the most important and sumptuous ornithological books of 18th century. The nine volumes are complete with all 872 plates, drawn and engraved by François-Nicolas Martinet (1731-1800) under the supervision of Edmée-Louis Daubenton. All plates are coloured by hand, and each presented with its own decorative yellow border.
  • This original and complete edition is regarded to be one of the most beautiful illustrated books ever published in Scandinavia. It includes 354 magnificent plates, three titles, three portraits (Dahlberg, Charles XI and Charles XII) along with three maps. The illustrations of magnificent Nordic landscapes filled with castles are blended here with heraldic and numismatic plates.

    The Suecia Antiqua was born from a project initiated in 1661 by King Charles X Gustave. He instructed Count Erik J. Dahlberg (1625-1703), a warrior and architect, to edit a book of topography on the kingdom of Sweden and its provinces. Inspired by topographic publications of the publisher Matthäus Merian, he presented Swedish towns (a third of the engravings), castles, mansions, historical sites and churches.
  • The scenes of Los Desastres portray the horrors lived by the people from Madrid during the Napoleonic wars from 1808 to 1814, and in particular the rebellion of 2nd May, 1808 against the French occupancy and the cruel repression from General Murat which followed.

    Goya's plates eloquently show the distress of the repressed people, and the inhumanity of their bloodthirsty opponents by depicting massacres, rapes, shootings, heaps of mangled corpses, robbed corpses and people being persecuted. The last plates, and in particularly from plate 65, you see a slight change in tone including some fantastic and dreamlike scenes that recall the Caprichos. Perhaps the Desastres were too provocative and too subversive for the public of this time. Although Goya engraved the work between 1810 and 1820, apart from one copy which is kept today at the British museum, he made no publications during his lifetime. The first edition would only be issued in 1863.
  • This funny letter, illustrated with a self-portrait, is evidence of the close friendship between the poet Paul Verlaine and the painter Frédéric-Auguste Cazals. From 1886 to his death in 1941, Cazals made more than 150 portraits or sketches of the poet. Looking forward to see Cazals again, Verlaine writes how much he enjoys spending time with him. He is eager to have a photographic portrait of Cazals : “vous seriez gentil de me donner votre photo”.

    Verlaine caricatures himself in profile, a pipe in his mouth with the caption : “Vive la Pologne Mossieur!”. The Polish literary community was very fond of Verlaine’s work and thanks to young Polish poets who attended the “Mardis” of Stéphane Mallarmé, many of his poems were translated into Polish from 1888.
  • WestImage - Art Digital Studio
    The author wrote the Deux définitions du roman as part of the 33rd French Scientific Congress session, which took place in Aix-en-Provence on 9th December 1866. The text is in two parts: “the novel in the antiquity and the first days of Christianity” (I) and “the novel in the 19th century” (II).

    According to Zola, the antique novel is characterised by the use of the imaginary if not the absurd, whilst the modern novel deals with the reality. Referring to these definitions, Zola wrote to his friend Anthony Valabrèque on 10th December: “I’m happy – read it as very happy – of this small work in which I largely applied Taine’s method. To say it boldly I would like to be in the corner of a room to hear everyone sing my praise.”
  • Salvador Dalí
    Manifeste mystique. Paris, Robert J. Godet, 1951.
    Estimate €10,000–15,000
    This exceptional dedication to Picasso is written in Catalan and in Spanish by Dalí. It was during his first trip to Paris in 1926 that Dalí met Picasso. Despite divergent views concerning the Franco regime, the two Catalan artists had a mutual admiration for each other.

    "Pel juliol, ni dona ni cargol"Para Picasso"Si vols estar ben servit, fes-te tu mateix el llit"Así es que me he dado la alternativaen un petó i una abraçada," Dalí, 1951.

    Translation: "In July, neither woman nor snail"/ For Picasso / "To be well served, make your own bed"/ In this way I gave myself the option / in a kiss and hug," Dalí, 1951.
    Prière d'insérer : "D'une continuité dalinienne", by Michel Tapié.
  • Valentine Hugo - Paul Eluard,
    Médieuses . [Presses de G. Dorfinant], 1939.
    Estimate €12,000–18,000
    Paul Éluard met Valentine Hugo at the beginning of 1930’s when she became André Breton’s companion. Their friendship brought numerous artistic collaborations. In 1938, he wrote to her: “I have in mind a great poem called Médieuses, a sort of feminine mythology.”

    These Médieuses – the feminine plural of “my God” – are the mediators between the poet and the world, and Hugo, with Éluard’s precise guidance, gives them nymph features intertwined with the magic of the heaven on earth.
  • Louis Legrand,
    Poèmes à l’eau-forte . Paris, Gustave Pellet, 1914.
    Estimate €15,000 - 20,000
    Louis Legrand was one of the greatest illustrators and engravers of his time, and the Poèmes à l’eau-forte represents the summit of his work. We can see in his prints the influence of Degas, Rops and also Manet, reworked with his own personal touch. The range of topics allows the artist to fully express his talent: Beaudelairian morbidity in the “Horloge”, a happier sensuality in “La Géante” and softness in the “Bohémiens en voyage”. A contemporary world emerges for example in the plate for “attente au music hall de Gustave Kahn”. It is also, to the best of our knowledge, the first illustration of poems from Arthur Rimbaud, in volume.
  • Henri Matisse,
    Jazz . Paris, Tériade, 1947.
    Estimate €120,000–150,000
    This publication is one of the most beautiful illustrated books of modern times. It is truly an icon of the 20th century. Tériade wanted to make it “a monument of the modern edition” and Henri Matisse acts as both an author and an illustrator.

    "Jazz, which was published in 1947, is a book which marks a turning point in Matisse’s career and in the art of our century. Tériade had guessed the great potential of Matisse new ‘cut-out’ technique, especially after he finished his project of the front cover of issue eight of Verve magazine. It was at this time that Tériade asked him to create an entire book of paper collages, which Matisse refused to do. But two years later, he asked Tériade to come to his Nice apartment at the Hotel Régina, to show him two plates and a project for the front cover of the thirteenth issue. Matisse wrote: "Drawing with scissors. Cutting directly into colour reminds me of sculptor’s carving into stone. This book was made with this in mind".

    The making of the 20 jazz cut-out plates took place from 1943 till 1944 while the text was handwritten in 1946. During this time, Tériade tried to find a way of reproducing the same exact colours from the originals. This proved to be very difficult; lithography, among other methods were attempted, but in vain. Finally they decided to use the pochoir technique ‘from Henri Matisse’s collages and cut-outs’ by using the same colours (gouache paint Linel) the artist had used” (Casimiro Di Crescenzo, in Tériade éditeur, centenaire).
  • Paul Morand,
    Ouvert la nuit . Paris, N.R.F., 1924.
    Estimate €18,000–25,000
    This edition features six watercolour illustrations by Raoul Dufy, André Favory, R.de La Fresnaye, André Lhote, L.-A. Moreau and A. Dunoyer de Segonzac. The mosaic book’s binding, inspired by nightlife colours, dates from the great years of Rose Adler, a member of UAM (The French Union of Modern Artists) since 1934. Rose Adler was on high demand by most of the bibliophiles of the time for her elegance and her inventiveness.
  • Pablo Picasso, -- Honoré de Balzac,
    Le Chef-d'œuvre inconnu . Paris, Ambroise Vollard, 1931.
    Estimate €30,000–50,000
    This precious copy on Imperial Japan paper, bound by Bonet includes thirteen original etchings "hors texte" (with an etched illustrated table) and 67 in-text wood engravings by Pablo Picasso.

    The striking work focuses on the content of the story by Honoré de Balzac: the relationship between the artist and his model, a theme close to the author’s heart. After the commission was accepted, Picasso delivered a large quantity of various illustrations: dots and line drawings produced in 1924, and presented at the beginning of the book as an introduction; then some reproductions of drawings in a “classical” style produced in 1926, some wood engravings based on his drawings, and lastly etchings hors texte, engraved in 1927, preceded by a table of contents also engraved.
  • François-Louis Schmied, -- Joseph-Charles Mardrus,
    Le Cantique des Cantiques . Paris, F.- L. Schmied, 1925.
    Estimate €30.000–40.000
    One of the major books from the Art Déco period, this masterpiece of François Louis Schmied, includes 80 wood-engraved compositions and versals printed in color –many with gold and silver – in a revolutionary lay out.

    Executed for the Marquise de Paris, the upper cover, which is decorated with a Cubist geometrical pattern by Pierre Legrain, is described in the Répertoire Legrain (n°113, repr. pl. LII) and reproduced in the Reliures présentées par Rose Adler (pl.10).
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